Internet marketing continues to flourish and new ways of targeting your individual tastes seem to manifest each week. Tailoring ads to a niche market by incorporating your searched on sites like eBay and Amazon are one thing, and while that made some of us uncomfortable, we’re getting used to it. But during the just-passed holiday season, an unfortunate trend was uncovered: internet marketing firms stole Christmas.
It surely wasn’t intentional, but the powers that be will need to come up with ways of making sure this doesn’t continue. Simply put, by retargeting ads, which is what it’s called when you see an ad for the item you were coveting on eBay crop up in your facebook feed, gifts bought in secret are revealed to shared users on computers. Holiday surprises (not to mention birthday gifts and other occasions) are potentially ruined.
According to a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business, a Motor City business news journal, internet marketing firms and prominent retailers are aware of the problem and attempt to curtail it – but maybe not enough.
Glenn Fishback, the head of Global Display at eBay Enterprise, told Crain’s that, “Retargeting is like post-it notes; it’s that reminder,” adding that, “What we don’t want to do is create wallpaper.”
Fishback, whose operation also does retargeting for the e-commerce platform Magento, advises that the best strategy is to stop pushing products to consumers within 24 hours of them having searched for it. But this doesn’t necessarily stop the problem.
The bottom line is that, in an effort to maximize revenue, protecting peoples’ secrets just isn’t a top priority when marketing is concerned.
Dave Vronay, CEO and co-founder of Heard, an anonymous social-exchange platform, told Crain’s that a Netflix-like login system where multiple users can exist under one account, might be the best approach to help in situations where family members are sharing an Amazon account, for instance.
While the jury is out on a universal solution for this problem, one way to curtail the spread of information is to use a different browser or enter into “private browsing” (a.k.a. “incognito”) mode for gift shopping and purchases. The best internet marketing will devise a way around this, and good web design may also hold the key for a work-around, but for the time being, we’ll have to learn to cover our own tracks. Find more on this topic here.